The Brain-Boosting New Reason to Eat More Chocolate

Chocolate may not be the most traditional example of brain food, but new research is proving that your love for the sweet snack could also be improving your memory and general brain health.

The new study, published in the journal Appetite, analyzed data from the sixth Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study, in which approximately 1,000 participants between the ages of 23 and 98 submitted information about their nutrition, diet, risks of cardiovascular diseases, and overall cognitive function. After compiling the data, researchers discovered that eating more chocolate was directly correlated with increased cognitive function.

In case you needed more reasons to appreciate the benefits of chocolate, here's a reason to snack on some more today. From improved memory to increased altertness, the people who indulged in chocolate saw the benefits immediately. The study, however, did not differentiate between the different types of chocolate (milk, white, or dark), but most participants overwhelmingly preferred dark chocolate, which has up to 70 percent cocoa.

While the study did follow the number of times people ate food, they did not measure the amount they consumed daily.

"Adopting dietary patterns to delay or slow the onset of cognitive decline is an appropriate avenue, given the limited treatments available for dementia," the researchers write in their study. "The present findings support recent clinical trials suggesting that regular intake of cocoa flavanols may have a beneficial effect on cognitive function, and possibly protect against normal age-related cognitive decline."

So the real question becomes: Is there anything chocolate can't do?